Longest and darkest lunar eclipse of century today

Longest and darkest lunar eclipse of century today

Longest and darkest lunar eclipse of century today

The eclipse will be witnessed from beginning till the end by people in eastern Africa, West Asia, Central Asia and Western Australia. At the mid-eclipse the moon will be at Mauritius. 

Observers in eastern Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina will witness totality, while none of the eclipse will be visible from North America. “This will be the darkest lunar eclipse in almost 100 years as the centres of the sun, the earth and the moon would nearly be  on one straight line,” said Arvind Paranjpye, Scientific Officer for public outreach at Pune-based Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), in a posting on the eclipse at the Centre’s website.

The atmosphere too plays its role in darkening the eclipsed moon, as it may let some refracted stray light onto the moon’s surface (earthshine) which could reduce the darkness level. 

The darkness may also be enhanced by the “contaminated” earth surface due to volcanic ashes both from the most active one in Iceland, Grimsvotn, and by  last year’s eruption of volcano Eygafjallajokull, experts have said.

The total lunar eclipse will begin at 00:52:30 IST and end at 02:32:42 IST. While the partial eclipse will begin at 23:52:56 IST and end at 03:32:15 IST. The time of the maximum eclipse is one hour, forty-two minutes, and twenty-four seconds.

According to Paranjpye, the darkest lunar eclipse was seen on August 6, 1971 and the next darkest one will be seen on June 6, 2058.

Observation sessions have been planned in Bangalore by various organisations, as amateurs in the city are keeping their fingers crossed over the clarity of the sky.

“Normally, we have clear sky between mid-late November to March,” said Pavan Keshavamurthy, a member of Bangalore Astronomical Society (BAS), who have planned one of the biggest eclipse parties in partnership with B V Jagadeesh Science Centre at National College Jayanagar.

“We’re of course worried about cloud cover. A clear sky would allow us to witness the full lunar eclipse until the partial eclipse that would happen until 3 am,” said Naveen Nanjundappa, another BAS member.

The eclipse party, which starts at 6.30 pm on Wednesday, will have four telescopes for the public to observe the eclipse, including one of the largest amateur astronomical telescope (17.5 inches).

The June 15 eclipse is one of two lunar eclipses in 2011, with the next scheduled to occur in December.

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